Patient matching, cited as a frequent and serious patient safety and privacy issue, was the focus of a recent discussion at a town hall meeting that was part of AHIMA’s 85th Annual Convention and Exhibit in Atlanta.
HIM professionals work to ensure patient safety and privacy through quality information in medical records. To maximize the safety and security of patient medical records, steps must be taken to ensure the proper matching of health care information in the EHR and in the process of health information exchange (HIE).
“Although the nation’s health care community is moving forward for the adoption of electronic health records and health information exchange capabilities, there is a growing sense of urgency to develop a national approach and strategy to effectively deal with ongoing and significant challenges regarding patient matching. The mismatch between patients and their clinical data is a serious and growing patient safety issue,” said Meryl Bloomrosen, MHA, RHIA, FAHIMA, AHIMA’s vice president of thought leadership, practice excellence, and public policy.
Participants at AHIMA’s town hall discussed the following:
• technological and organizational considerations that affect accurate patient matching;
• approaches organizations are using to achieve accurate patient matching; and
• the top three barriers and/or risks to attain and secure the integrity of patient matching for health care and how they may be mitigated.
“HIM professionals are on the front lines in dealing with patient matching,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “This type of forum serves as a temperature gauge allowing members to learn and share. Our discussion will help AHIMA frame and inform future discussions with federal agencies and industry leaders. Patient matching is essential to avoid duplicate records and to reduce instances of incomplete or fragmented patient information. AHIMA and its members have longstanding experience dealing with patient matching workflow and process, nuances and pitfalls, and stand ready to provide lessons learned. Accurate patient identification is foundational to the successful linking of patient records within health care delivery sites and across the health care ecosystem. Successful patient matching is key to care delivery, data exchange, analytics, and critical business and clinical processes. We know that effective solutions require more than technology or statistical algorithms.”
AHIMA’s discussion comes on the heels of an announcement this fall by the Office of the National Coordinator that it is launching its Patient Matching Initiative, a project to help identify the common features and best practices being used in the private sector and the government.